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— Medical

Support bath enables 3D printing of soft biomaterials

When it comes to surgical procedures on internal organs, the heart can be one of the most difficult to work with. Heart tissue doesn't repair itself like that of other body parts, so those with failing hearts only have the option of joining a long waitlist in hopes of receiving a transplant in time. All of this may change in the near future, as a research group at Carnegie Mellon University has demonstrated a method of 3D bioprinting with soft materials.

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Implantable LCD eye lenses may make glasses obsolete

The potential for replacing aging or damaged eye lenses with artificial lenses that do more than just restore eyesight has long been recognized. With everything from telescopic capabilities to those with built-in heads-up displays, electronically-enabled synthetic lenses promise to bring useful cybernetic enhancements to the human body. In pursuit of this goal, one researcher at the University of Leeds is developing a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness.

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Malaria vaccine for pregnant women reveals promising target for cancer therapy

The apparent parallels between aggressive tumor development and the way a placenta grows inside a pregnant woman have intrigued cancer researchers for years. Evolving from only a small number of cells into several-pound organ in the space of a few months, scientists have long suspected that the placenta could hold clues to understanding and ultimately beating cancer. Now the ongoing search for a malaria vaccine has inadvertently uncovered one of its more promising secrets that holds potential for the development of a treatment for the deadly disease.

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"Lab in a needle" could streamline medical diagnoses

What if it were possible to squeeze the diagnostic ability of a lab into a single needle? Scientists have come up with a self-contained lab in a needle-like device which is claimed capable of delivering results to common lab tests instantly. The device could potentially allow doctors to diagnose and treat conditions faster and make it easier to conduct diagnostic tests anywhere.


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DARPA's fascinating self-healing body initiative – ElectRx

DARPA's ElectRx project envisions tiny devices, the width of a single nerve strand, that could be injected into the body to monitor certain conditions and then stimulate targeted nerves in response, harnessing the body’s own repair mechanisms to deal with a range of conditions like chronic pain, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and certain autoimmune diseases. DARPA sees the potential to create new treatments that automatically and continuously tune themselves to the needs of a specific patient.

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Leukometer promises needle-free monitoring of the immune system

Keeping track of white blood cell levels in chemotherapy patients is an involved but crucially important task. The treatment can lead to suppression of the immune system, a decline in white blood cell count, which in turn can give rise to infections and other serious complications. As things stand, patients are subjected to regular blood tests as a means of keeping an eye on things, but an international team of scientists has a less invasive alternative in the works. With the ability to tally up white blood cells through the skin in real time, the new testing device can simply be stuck onto a fingertip to help clinicians tailor personalized and more timely treatments.

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Tiny particles propel themselves upstream to stop severe internal bleeding

Though materials have been developed that clot blood in order to slow bleeding, when the bleeding is internal things get a little more complicated. The flow of blood makes it difficult to deliver these agents upstream to the site of the injury, but now a team of Canadian researchers says it may have a solution. It has developed a micro-sized particle that produces gas to propel itself against the tide.

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